#ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear Sheds Light On The Sexism That Female Writers Face Daily
If you're a woman who writes, you're going to love-slash-hate reading through what 27 of your favorite authors had to say about #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear. Chocolat author Joanne Harris started the #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear hashtag on Monday, and the response has been swift, with hundreds of tweets detailing the unique forms of sexism that women writers face, from being encouraged to use pseudonyms to good old fashioned mansplaining.
Back in 2015, one writer did her part to unveil the widespread gender bias in publishing when she talked about her experience submitting a manuscript under a male pseudonym. Catherine Nichols' original manuscript was eight times less successful than an identical one submitted by "George."
Although reading about Nichols' experience was eye-opening for many people, it's only the tip of a very large iceberg. A number of renowned male writers are blatantly sexist toward their characters, fans, and colleagues. Back in 2011, Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul infamously claimed that no woman writer was his equal, not even Jane Austen, whom he derided as "sentimental." Purity author Jonathan Franzen insulted Oprah's literary taste as "schmaltzy" — after she picked his third novel, The Corrections, for her book club.
Novelist Jennifer Weiner coined a term for the kind of sexism that targets women who dare to write literary fiction: Goldfinching. Named for Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, this is a phenomenon in which critics devalue books written and read by women, either by infantilizing them, or by deeming them too harsh or sentimental. One of the most prominent Goldfinching targets in recent memory was Hanya Yanagihara's Booker Prize-winning novel A Little Life.
Deanna Raybourn writes historical fiction of the romance and mystery variety. Her Lady Julia Grey series was optioned for British television in 2015.
Cherie Priest is the author of The Clockwork Century and Borden Dispatches, along with many other series. Her novel Boneshaker won the 2010 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
Alyssa Wong writes award-winning horror stories. At the time of this writing, she has been nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards in two categories.
Emily Gould is the co-owner of Emily Books, an e-bookstore and publishing house. She is the author of Hex Education, And the Heart Says Whatever, and Friendship.
Diana Gabaldon writes the bestselling historical fantasy series, Outlander, which has been adapted into a graphic novel, musical album, and TV series, as well as the spin-off series, Lord John.
Neha Poonia is a journalist based in South Delhi, where she works as an anchor for CNN-News18.
16Mary Emily O'Hara
Mary Emily O'Hara is an NBC News correspondent and former LGBT Reporter for The Daily Dot. She has written for Vice, Willamette Week, The Daily Beast, and The Advocate, among other outlets.
Emily Nussbaum won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2016, in recognition of her work at The New Yorker, where she has been the TV Critic since 2011.
19Sarah Reese Jones
Sarah Reese Jones works for PoliticusUSA as a Publisher, Managing Editor, and Senior White House and Congressional Correspondent. She also co-hosts Politicus Radio.
Chrissa Hardy is the editor of Wise Bread and writes for a number of websites, including Bustle.
Keisha Hatchett is an assistant editor at The Mary Sue, and a contributing writer to POPSUGAR and Nerdist.
24Jennifer Finney Boylan
Jennifer Finney Boylan is the author of several books, including She's Not There, Stuck in the Middle with You, and the forthcoming Long Black Veil. She's Not There was nominated for the 16th Annual Lambda Literary Award in the Autobiography/Memoir category, winning in the Transgender/Genderqueer category.